The future of medicine is now

December 31, 2012

A test developed by Foundation Medicine Inc. analyzes tumor DNA to help find targeted treatment options for patients with cancer (credit: Foundation Medicine)

Six medical innovations are poised to transform the way we fight disease, The Wall Street Journal reports.

  • Surgeons at Boston Children’s Hospital have developed a way to help children born with half a heart to essentially grow a whole one — by marshaling the body’s natural capacity to heal and develop.
  • Oxford Nanopore Technologies has unveiled the first of a generation of tiny DNA sequencing devices that many predict will eventually be as ubiquitous as cellphones — it’s already the size of one.
  • A test developed by Foundation Medicine Inc. enables doctors to test a tumor sample for 280 different genetic mutations suspected of driving tumor growth.
  • MK3475, being developed by Merck & Co., is among a new category of drugs that unleash an army of immune cells to hunt down a cancer. — Ron Winslow
  • Last month, the FDA cleared a new iPhone add-on that lets doctors take an electrocardiogram just about anywhere. Other smartphone apps help radiologists read medical images and allow patients to track moles for signs of skin cancer.
  • Gene therapy is poised to become a viable option for a variety of often life-threatening medical conditions, especially those resulting from a single defective gene.